Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SW Advent Calendar: December 6

The Disney Comics gang has a very weird way of decorating their tree.  And that just looks terribly poke-y if you ask me.  Also, where are Donald's nephews?  On the back side of the tree, unloved and unwanted, I suppose.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The New 52 and Creeping Ambivalence

As I knew it might, and as I've discussed here before, DC's New 52 and its attention on supposedly newer and younger readers (a possibly necessary marketing step) feels less and less like its working for me every week.  And its an odd feeling.

I'm still excited by a few books.  Animal Man.  Swamp Thing.  Batwoman.  Action Comics.  But as time wears on, the approach DC has taken in the relaunch, of hiring the same old hands and just sort of re-jiggering the DCU with no rhyme or reason to it...  the sheer half-baked approach to the effort on so many titles, is just beginning to wear on me as an adult reader and a long-time DC fan.

But the bottom line is that while some of these comics are sort of bad, most of them are just plain not very good.  They aren't special or worth the time or money associated with them.  They're the filler material of C-list comics that, for some reason, always seem to just exist the same way shows like NBC's The Sing Off manage to show on television for no real reason other than that they generate modestly more money than the budget and are less embarrassing than going to a test signal and admitting you ran out of stuff worth showing.

SW Advent Calendar December 5: It's Krampus Day!!!

Forget Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Your Holiday season can officially begin with Krampus Day! Yes, that merry old emobdiment of terror is here for your children, just in time to remind them that being "naughty" may have grave consequences beyond making your parents buy you the XBox Santa refuses to deliver.

It's Krampus! Keepin' Christmas REAL.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Superboy #3

Superboy #3
Free at Last, Free at Last
writer - Scott Lobdell
penciller - RB Silva
inker - Rob Lean
colorists - Richard & Tanya Horie
letterer - Carlos Mangual
editor - Chris Conroy

If I may... I hate the title of this issue. I know its a famous phrase, but it does have weight. Using Dr. King's words to title a Superboy issue that is entirely about made-up science fiction stuff... it just seems to unintentionally diminish the meaning of the "I Have a Dream" speech, which I am certain was not the intention of DC, but that's why Lobdell and DC's editors just need to be smarter.

SW Advent Calendar December 4: We wish you a Turtle Christmas

May God have mercy on your souls.

The Weekend - The Admiral is Saluted

This weekend we headed into Houston.

As I mentioned about a month ago, The Admiral has retired from his jobby-job at the Corporation Place where he's worked for the last couple decades.  Saturday night his colleagues threw him a shindig at Houston's Morton's Steakhouse down near the Galleria.  It was lovely.

So, Friday Jamie and I drove into Houston.

On Friday evening, we visited with very longtime pals Shannon & Josh and their kid, Owen at Texas Tex-Mex fixture Ninfa's.  Its been years since we'd seen any of the Houston contingent, and we had never met young Owen.   Saturday we headed to the Galleria (a fairly tony shopping complex for those of you wondering) for lunch with Erica & Scott and their two kids, Isaac and Mara.

We've definitely headed into the phase where our pals from days of yore have had kids, and we have not, and that puts us in that Childfree American minority.  We are now those weird people you remember from your own childhood who didn't match your understanding of the world in which the function of adults was to have kids so somebody would feed people e exitinglike you.  They'd show up at the Holidays for meals, maybe, and have no concept of soccer practices, school programs, homework, etc...  Also, those people just sort of stared at your kid-ness, did they not?

Yup.  That's us.  We are most definitely the weird kid-less people now.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 3

Yes, they come from a planet of living machines, but their artificial hearts are no less warmed by the joy of the season.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: It's Superman!

In 2005 or 2006, I bought the novel It's Superman! by Tom De Haven.  And, I never read it.  I don't know why.  I read the first couple of chapters and then loaned it to Judy (my mother-in-law) and when it came back a week later, I just never finished the book.

Truthfully, I didn't really understand the point of the book.  Who was Tom De Haven?  With television, comics, movies, cartoons, etc... all spinning their own take, why go to the media where Superman hasn't had as much success as elsewhere?  Why start over?

After listening to the novel as an audiobook from Blackstone (delivered via audible), I'm still not exactly sure.  Yes, the novel provides angles and insights movies and comics might not.  It follows inner monologues, switches points of view with tremendous regularity, but it also seems to lack a certain insight into Superman, the sort of insight that I think has been understood by others in recent media, from Mark Waid's Birthright to Paul Dini and Alex Ross's Peace on Earth to Morrison's All Star Superman to bits and snippets of Superman Returns.  And, again, I think I'm seeing it in Grant Morrison's Action Comics.

Between buying the book of It's Superman! and listening to the audiobook (thank goodness for long car rides), I read De Haven's follow up to this one.  The follow up, however, wasn't another novel.  Instead, it was a meditation on Superman entitled Our Hero: Superman on Earth.  It was a nuanced read but it also informs some of what I think De Haven struggled with in writing It's Superman! and where he and I might part ways in our opinions of what's going on with the character.

SW Advent Calendar December 2

Christmas is the great gifts at this year's office Christmas party and wondering what you have in common with your work colleagues other than work.  Also, wishing for Don Draper's hair.

Holiday Helping Hand

Hey!  It's the Holidays!

It's the time of year when movies and TV tell us we learn important life lessons about the real meaning of Christmas.

This can mean family, giving, whatever TV and movies seem to say, I suppose.  In the case of Die Hard, it means blowing up Alan Rickman in a spectacular fashion.

Things are rough out there, of course.  Nobody is saying it isn't.  But it can also be a time to step back from buying that one more $15 present and putting that money toward something that will help somebody who actually needs the money more than you need one more package under the tree to make things symmetrical.

If you give to any charity this year in the spirit of the Holidays, why not send me a message so I know what you've been up to, and I'll post a Signal Watch Holiday Honor Roll.  You don't have to say how much you gave, but we'd love your name, who you gave to, and if you feel like saying so, why you gave to that organization.

Superman helps out with more than a donation

You can also mention any groups that you regularly give to, especially if you have someone you give to monthly.

I'll give an example:
I give monthly to Capital Area Food Bank, which provides food to local families in need.  
If you have an organization you give to (that I won't find creepy), just send it our way via our email or click the contact tag on this website.